L.L. Bean reports flat sales in tough year for retailers

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — Outdoors specialty retailer L.L. Bean says sales were flat this past year after five consecutive years of growth.

The family-owned company said Friday that revenue hit $1.6 billion in its fiscal year that ended Feb. 28. CEO Steve Smith says the 104-year-old company in Freeport, Maine, "performed well given a challenging retail environment."

Many major retailers struggled. CEO Dan Hess from New York-based Merchant Forecast called it a "lousy year" for clothing retailers.

Despite missing growth targets, the board approved a 3 percent bonus for workers.

It was a year of big change at Bean.

Smith is the first person from outside the company to serve as CEO. He was hired in November.

The year also marked the passing of Leon Leonwood Bean's grandson, former CEO and chairman Leon Gorman.